So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 2 Cor. 5:6-8
I have spent a great deal of time with timelines and trying to map out the events surrounding Christ’s return for those that are looking for him, and at times it can be a bit difficult to explain. For example, when dealing with the bodily resurrection of the saints, which by the way is one the most popular questions I encounter, you get into the question of what state will the believers that have gone to heaven before the resurrection be in? The Bible explains in great detail how those that have died in the Lord will get glorified bodies at the coming of the Lord (1 Thes. 4:16, 1 Cor. 15:52-55), but you have to extrapolate a bit to answer what their current state is. That was until I read about this in the NLT version.
2 Cor. 5:1-5 explains that we now have an earthly body and a heavenly body that God himself has made for us. He gives a vivid description of why we groan in this present body. Paul explains that it is not because we want to get rid of these earth suits, but rather it is that we want to be clothed with our heavenly suits so these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life! You may ask, ‘How does that answer the question about the saints that gone on before us?’ Well, it doesn’t exactly, as I said you have to read between the lines a bit on that question. Sandwiched in Paul’s discussion on the earthly verses heavenly suits, he makes this statement: “For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies” (2 Cor. 5:3).
Did you get that? If you lay all this out on the timeline, you have the case of the spirits without bodies in heaven. There is no way around it. This is not a problem. There are many with testimonies of those who have had heavenly visions. Jessie Duplantis has a marvelous video of his heavenly encounter. The most recent is the little boy’s account in Heaven is For Real. In either account, there was no problem recognizing loved ones or with them carrying out daily functions in heaven. The only difficulty, as far as I can tell, would be with them coming back to rule and reign with Christ on the earth. There needs to be a reconnecting with their earth suit first, after it becomes glorified or swallowed up by life. That is so amazing just to think about, and it all will happen in a blink of an eye! For clarity on what a glorified body is, just read and follow Jesus’ activities the forty days he remained on earth after his resurrection.
Now that brings us to the more pressing question. Which are you most at home with, your earthly body or with the Lord? Let me ask it another way in case that didn’t click. Are you so comfy down here in the world, in your earth suit, that you don’t groan or sigh anymore longing for heaven? If you don’t get a little home sick for heaven, as a believer, you had better check yourself. As I spoke on this Sunday, I made the point, your body was not built to last –that is after sin came into the picture. Thank God he shortened the life span of sinful man. There is another built in dissatisfaction or discomfort if you will. You weren’t built (the new creation that is) to feel totally at home on earth because THIS IS NOT YOU HOME! So please check yourself today. If you are so comfortable down here that you are no longer looking for him, the return of the Lord Jesus for the saints, that’s a good indication that ‘world-itis’ is creeping in.